Bolton Wanderers U21s secured a well-earned point after a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.
Seven minutes from time, Newcastle levelled matters from the penalty spot courtesy of Romain Amalfitano with both teams sharing the points.
Wanderers named a strong line-up for the game against the Magpies, with Samni Odelusi and Josh Vela both included.
United, under the guidance of Newcastle legend Peter Beardsley and Willie Donachie, handed a start to Congolese international Yven Modo.
Coach Jamie Fullarton went with a 4-4-2, young pairing Zach Clough and Sampson leading the line and centre half Cian Bolger captaining the Whites.
But it was the visitors who started the game on the front foot and Bolton custodian Jay Lynch was forced to make an early save.
Utilising his pace, right wide man Moyo found space to fizz a low cross into the penalty area for number nine Alex Gillead to shoot but Lynch was equal to the effort and palmed the ball to safety.
Five minutes later and Steve Logan was presented with two opportunities to break the deadlock in Newcastle’s favour.
His first stung the palms of Lynch after a vicious half volley from 20-yards which went out of play for a corner kick. From the resulting set-piece, Logan found possession back at his feet on the edge of the area but was unable to keep his shot down with the ball sailing over the frame.
United, one point ahead of Bolton in the league standings, were proving to be tricky customers and showed from the first whistle why they were unbeaten in their last five outings.
Bolton’s first look in on Jak Alnick’s goal came three minutes before the half hour mark. Odelusi, who recently made his senior league debut at Charlton, worked hard to win the ball inside the
Newcastle half but couldn’t find the finishing touch when shooting resulting in an easy collection for the keeper.
Newcastle full backs Kevin Mbabu and James Tavernier were pushing forward at every possible moment, with the latter close to finding the back of the net in the 32nd minute.
Combining well with Amalfitano on the left flank, Tavernier cut inside and whistled right footed shot inches wide of the near post.
Frontman Clough, who has played an integral part in the U18s success so far this season, created Bolton’s best opening of the 45, ten minutes before the half time whistle.
Holding off two Newcastle defenders, Clough threaded the ball to strike partner Sampson but was unable to find the target and hammered over.
However the best chance of the first half went Newcastle’s with 43 minutes on referee Wootton’s clock.
Still in an advanced position from a set piece, Lubomir Satka headed against the post from five yards out following a neat passage of play from the Magpies.
Ten minutes into the second half, Fullarton was forced to make his change after right back Joe Riley picked up a knock, Niall Maher coming on in his place.
On the hour mark, Newcastle were again denied by the woodwork. Substitute Alex Nicholson, who replaced Mbabu at the start of the second half, delivered into the box for Gilliead to rattle the bar on the volley.
Bolton went on to make their second and third change in search of the opening goal with Alex McQuade and Joe McKee coming on in place of Odelusi and Vela.
Soon after the changes, Bolton found just what they were looking for and went ahead in the 67th minute.
Collecting a throw in from the right wing, tricky winger Lester cleverly flicked the ball over Tavernier and directed a low cross from the byline into Sampson’s path to fire home.
Wanderers continued to defend bravely whenever Newcastle pushed bodies forward, but a late challenge inside the Bolton penalty area on with seven minutes to go resulted in Newcastle being awarded a spot kick.
Stepping up confidently, Amalfitano side footed the ball into the left hand corner beyond the reach of Lynch despite his efforts
Deep into stoppage time, Bolton had the game’s final chance as substitute McKee curled a 30-yard free-kick over the bar.
The final whistle quickly followed with Bolton’s next game on Monday 8th April against Manchester City, kick-off 1pm at the LFA.